California Department of Transportation
Energy Conservation Program
Supported by the Department of Transportation (Department) directives, policies, executive orders and statutory mandates, the Department continues its leadership role in the stewardship of the State’s resources with a proactive energy conservation effort and development and deployment of alternative energy generation since the mid-1970s.
Over the years, a number of the Department’s energy projects have won state and national awards; such as the Department’s continuing light emitting diode (LED) traffic signals upgrade program. The Department’s leadership in the development and deployment of the technology has helped to create new jobs and resulted in new LED-based products coming to market.
The primary function of the Department’s energy program is to identify, develop and implement cost effective conservation opportunities for any energy consuming activity within the Department. Currently, the Department is tracking energy usage and potential on-site generation to reduce the State’s consumption impact upon the power grid. The Department is considering the deployment of solar energy systems, wind power generation, hydrogen fuel cells for stationary and mobile applications, distributive generation, and hybrid and dual fuel vehicles.
In 2007 and 2008, the Department’s Energy Conservation Program started to share energy data with departmental Climate Change and green house gas reduction efforts, and incorporated that data into the Department's Climate Action report to the then California Climate Action Registry (CCAR, in recent years the CCAR has expanded to become a national organization and changed its name to the Climate Action Registry.). Caltrans became a certified member of CCAR in the Spring of 2009.
In the Summer of 2009 the Department's Energy Conservation Program was merged with the Department's Climate Action Team (Currently located in the Division of Transportation Planning.)
In 2010, the Department completed deployment of its computer energy management and use tracking system along with intranet web based real time monitoring, continued the development and installation of the Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) funded solar electric systems at 70 facilities statewide, and started to upgrade roadway lighting systems to LED based technologies.
In 2011/2012 Fiscal Year, the Department plans to complete the CREB solar electric system project, continue to upgrade roadway lighting systems with LED projects, plan and develope exterior lighting upgrades to LED technologies at maintenance complexes statewide including analysis of current on demand lighting control systems.
In 2012, the Department will be analizing the potential of its installed base of solar-photoelectric (PV) systems and facility energy system upgrades (LED facility exterior lighting systems and controls) potential to reduce facility impact on the electric grid to near zero on an annual basis. (About 50 sites may have this potential.) Roadway lighting system upgrades will continue to be installed as funding permits.
Conservation Projects (Past, Present, and Future)
Green House Gas Reduction and Climate Change Efforts: Energy consumption reduction and the replacement of carbon-based energy systems with renewable power sources will help reduce society’s impact upon the global warming trends currently affecting the state, nation and the world. The implementation of the various energy-related activities discussed below directly:
- Improves the Department’s investment of the taxpayer’s funds in the State’s Transportation System,
- Reduces the consumption of non-renewable energy resources,
- Reduces the Department’s generation of green house gas emissions,
- Allows the limited energy supplies to be re-allocated to new users and thus reduce the rate of new energy infrastructure development as the State grows, and
- Minimizes the impact of carbon-based energy systems upon the State’s environment while reducing the Department’s cost of doing business.
Roadway Energy Projects: The State roadways consume energy resources in many ways; such as, lighting, water pumping, traffic signals and controllers, and signage. The types of conservation activities include:
- Upgrading traffic signal lamps from high wattage incandescent lamps to extremely low wattage LED fixtures. In addition, the lower wattage allows for battery backup systems to be installed for intersection operation during power disruptions, thus reducing interruptions to the flow of the State’s roadway system. LED signals installed in the late 1990s and early 2000/2001 are starting to be replaced with even more efficient LED modules. Newer LED signal modules with even lower energy consumption continue to replace less efficient LED modules as the older devices reach end of productive life. (Status, continues in 2011.)
- Updated: The Department is now in the process to convert roadway and Maintenance Yard lighting systems to LED technologies. About 67,000 fixtures will be converted over the next 24 months. Funding to purchase the bulk of the LED fixtures during fiscal 2011/2012 is in progress.Expected completion will be in fiscal year 2013/2014, with planned deliveries starting after 7/01/12. Estimated energy savings of about 50% and an extended field life between 15 and 20 years between change outs is expected. Due to the nature of LED technology, the lights are at full brightness when they are turned on. This allows for possible control applications when the light is not needed. Possible application of control system upgrades to maintenance facility yard lighting could mean a reduction of hours of operation from typically 4100 hours per year to 400 hours per year. Any control system used must default to the "ON" position should the control system fail, thus maintaining security/safety lighting levels until the control system is repaired.
- Induction roadway sign lighting systems have replaced mercury vapor fixtures, improved quality of light and about resulted in a 40% reduction of energy consumption for this statewide upgrade project. (Project completed)
- Identifying cost effective methods to use energy to improve night vision tasking on the State’s roadway infrastructure continues.
- Updated: Improving lighting control systems to limit energy system usage to times of user need will look at installed LED roadway lighting systems in order to determine an optimum control policy. (project options continue to be studied.)
- Refining the science of effective night lighting applications to ensure optimum deployment when night lighting is defined as the best current solution will continue.
Facilities Energy Projects: Existing energy systems within the Department’s facilities include environmental support systems (general and task lighting, heating, cooling, ventilating and improving air quality), office equipment (computers and related support equipment, printers, copiers, fax, etc.), auxiliary and main power equipment, elevators/escalators, process loads and other “plug load” devices. As part of the Department’s continuing facilities energy conservation program, the following activities are now in progress or under development:
- Benchmarking of all departmental facilities by facility and by specific load profiles as they relate to on-going energy projects is in progress for inclusion into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Portfolio Manager (PM) database in support of the Department’s commitment to implementing the various energy related Executive Orders including S-20-04 and W-83-94 was completed in 2007/2008. (Monthly data collection continues in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011/2012.)
- New facilities and major facility rehabilitation projects are being designed to Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver or better certification rating standards continues in FY 2011/2012.
- Updated: Computer equipment energy conservation measures have been deployed. The energy tracking portion of the system occurred in the Summer of 2009 to establish baseline data, then the energy conservation system wide instruction set deployment starting in November 2009 with full deployment by May 1, 2010. Real-time statewide energy and use monitoring of 19,500 desktop and laptop computercintues, and rate of energy use by District is documented. (ongoing data collection continues and is reported as required by Executive Order S-03_10.
- Retro-commissioning (RCx) energy audits are being completed on two high-rise district offices in order to determine the value of this process when compared to the more traditional investment grade energy audit. Information from the RCx reports will assist the Department in the development of a “Best Practices” facility operations and maintenance guide for staff and contracted services. (completed in 2008)
- Updated: Department deployment of 2-level LED technology based garage lighting has resulted in a major retrofit of the District 7 HQ parking garage in Los Angeles. (completed in FY 2011/2012.)
- Updated: 70 photovoltaic power generation projects funded by the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) program are now in the final design and construction phase after a successful Bond sale in the Spring of 2009. Completed statewide implementation of the projects is expected by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011/2012.
- Updated: Working with the California Department of General Services (DGS) to utilize their energy services contract (ESCO) to cost effectively upgrade all facility energy and water systems, and to implement an automated LEED EB (Existing Building) and continuous commissioning reporting feature of the integrated statewide facilities management network, where cost effective. In addition to that effort, DGS and state departments (including Caltrans) are working with the public utilities are developing a version of On-Bill-Financing (OBF) to offer a project funding option for State government, (expected to come on line in FY 2011/2012). During 2010 a selected number of CREB PV sites are being reviewed by the Department to combine cost effective conservation measures with the on site PV systems resulting in a facility with close to an average net-zero grid impact. First phase completion is expected in FY 2012/2013.
- A study is under development to investigate upgrading existing emergency generation equipment into facility load management systems. The “greening” of the generation equipment would allow the local air boards to certify the systems for 24/7 operations and allow the Department to participate in year round revenue generating utility demand load-shedding programs.
- Investigate the potential use of the Department’s expanding fleet of hybrid vehicles to augment the existing emergency/on-site power resources for facilities during times of emergency and power blackouts.
- Collaborate with government and private sector parties in the development of an integrated hydrogen solution that links facilities and vehicle assets into support for the State’s Hydrogen Highway and Climate Change efforts.
Vehicular Energy Projects: The departmental fleet of vehicles range from mobile equipment, light-duty vehicles, construction and heavy-duty vehicles, to special purpose vehicles that perform functions like snow removal, roadway cleaning, painting, emergency response and other roadway maintenance assignments. Energy use goes beyond just driving the vehicle on the roadway. Many of these vehicles use energy to perform their function once they get to a project site. Over the years, the mission of the Department’s fleet has changed along with how the fleet is operated and maintained. The current mix of vehicles is more energy efficient and has lower emissions than the fleet of just five years ago. The current energy conservation and air quality improvement efforts look at both the driving and project site uses of energy to insure a safe and effective program.
The “greening” of the Department’s fleet and equipment inventory started in the mid-1980s by:
- Investigating more effective ways to manage the fleet inventory;
- Defining policies that allowed less efficient vehicles to be surveyed out of the fleet once they were no longer cost effective;
- Changing the fleet color from orange to white to achieve higher resale values for fleet vehicles, reduced environmental impact with the orange paint, and increased employee visibility during daytime and evening operations;
- Defining State contract performance specifications and the purchase of remanufactured oils and lubricants, antifreeze and batteries;
- Changing from steel belted to radial tires has reduced fuel consumption for the departmental fleet.
- Using recycling solvent cleaning and washing systems at departmental maintenance centers.
- Updated: The Department is planning and designing the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations along Interstate 5. It is estimated that the frequency of the recharging centers will be spaced about 25 miles apart. Implementation will progress as demand and funding sources are assigned to the project.
From the mid-1990s to the present the “greening” activities have included ways to:
- Reduce or eliminate vehicle engine idle time and increase the use of auxiliary and alternative power systems to supply the services that once were supplied by the idling vehicle.
- Increase the Department’s fleet mix of alternative power, hybrid and dual fuel vehicles continues. Long-term trends would indicate that the hybrid vehicle would be the standard vehicle design, thus allowing the Department to multi-task its use of vehicles in both a transportation infrastructure support and a mobile power generation role for site use and emergency response.
- Upgrade mobile message signs to systems that use up to 90% less energy to operate has been completed.
- Continue exhaust management projects to reduce the levels of combustion products from diesel and gasoline engines.
- Collaborate with government and private sector parties in the development of an integrated hydrogen solution that links facilities and vehicle assets into support for the State’s Hydrogen Highway and Climate Change efforts. The Department is part of a National Energy Labs/Caltrans/Private sector development team to replace diesel/gasoline powered portable gen set/lighting towers with a Hydrogen-based fuel system. In 2011/2012, the Department is funding and field testing prototypes in conjunction with UC Davis.
- Study the interconnections between electric vehicle transportation needs and the current State and National electric grid. As the transportation sector becomes a larger load factor, what are those options to optimize cost to accommodate change? Example, would the electric appliance industry support a conversion from all-electric air conditioning to thermal (absorption) based technologies? Doing so could free up summer power generation capacity for electric vehicle recharging.
Alternative Power Projects: Wherever energy is consumed within the Department, there are or eventually will be power generation options that do not require the use of non-renewable energy resources. The Department has been developing alternative power projects since the mid-1980s. Photovoltaic (PV), geothermal, wind, small hydro and tidal, and renewable carbon and non-carbon based energy resources have applications for the Department including to:
- Continue the application of alternative power generation options at off-grid sites like maintenance stations, remote telecommunications sites, emergency roadside call boxes, cathodic protection systems for bridges, warning beacons in remote locations, and mobile equipment for roadway maintenance.
- Develop and implement renewable power generation at departmental facilities, like the addition of photovoltaic systems in new building construction, retrofitting existing facilities, and small scale applications where utility power connection costs and operation exceed the value of service to the Department.
- Pursue the development of additional solar and alternative on-site green power opportunities beyond the current 70 photovoltaic power generation projects under the IRS approved CREBs program.
- Continue research into non-carbon based hydrogen sources for departmental hydrogen fuel cell applications (stationary and mobile)
Tracking success: In order to determine the optimum investment program for the Department’s energy infrastructure, the costs and benefits of each option needs to be identified. In some cases, the cost of investment will be offset by reduced operational costs within the effective life of the project. In other cases, the costs of the project will not return to the Department direct benefits to pay back the project; however, the economic benefits to the State more than offset the original investments. Bridges, roads, railways, and other transportation system improvements are examples of investments that result in societal paybacks that far exceed the original and on-going costs to operate.
The value of saved resources must be defined and tracked over the life of the project. This form of analysis is known as Total Life Cycle Cost Analysis or TLCCA and evaluating the potential use of LCA (life cycle analysis) with metrics as that international protocol matures..
As part of the TLCCA process, all energy projects that are implemented or planned for implementation are to be benchmarked before and after each project. Both one time and continuing energy savings are tracked every year after implementation along with potential energy savings for those projects waiting for implementation. The data sets are included in the TLCCA and used as a base to continuously monitor the operations of the systems to refine the operational parameters as well as data sets to determine when service or replacement becomes cost effective. This process would also be used to generate real time operational data.
(NOTE: Department Energy Primer 2011 is under construction. scp)
An educational document that discusses the how, when, where, and why's of energy consumption within the Department of Transportation.
|Building Better Buildings||Link to Blueprint 2001 (Acrobat)|
|Link to Blueprint 2003 (Acrobat)|
|Governor's Environmental Goals and Policy Report||Link to EGPR November 2003 (Acrobat)|
|Cost and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings||Link to Cost Benefits Green Bldg (Acrobat)|
|The Cost-Effectiveness of Commercial Buildings Commissioning||Link to Berkeley National Labs Report(Acrobat)|
|CIWMB Web Link||http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/GreenBuilding/|
|California Energy Commission Policy Documents|
|Energy Action Plan by CEC/CPUC/CPA 2003||Link to 2003-05-08 Action Plan (Acrobat)|
|CEC Energy Report 2004 Update||Link to CEC 2004 Energy Report (Acrobat)|
|Title 24, Rev. 2005 (Energy Codes)||Link to Title 24, 2005 (Acrobat)|
|Draft Reference Documents|
|Example of Draft Boilerplate Turnkey ESCO contract||Link to Draft Basic ESCO Contract (Word Doc)|
For additional information, please contact the following project contacts:
Roadway or LED technology projects: email@example.com
Departmental Fleet: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/eqsc/
Large facility and departmental photovoltaic project deployment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Change: email@example.com
Last Update: March 30, 2012